HARARE,– State owned bank Agribank says it will increase its SME loan book to $6 million from the current $4 million on the back of increased growth of microfinance activities in its branches around the country.
Chief executive, Sam Malaba in an interview said 20 Agribank branches now have loan and micro finance officers.
“We are going to increase our loan book to $6 million by year end. We have been doing this since 2014 and what we have done is that in every area where we have identified micro finance activity, we have established a branch and to date we have 20 branches that have microfinance officers,” he said.
Malaba said Agribank was also going to increase the number of branches on a gradual basis as demand for the service increase.
Malaba added that the bank would roll out $18 million in support for agriculture for the 2016/2017 agricultural season, with specific target of small-scale farmers who have irrigation facilities.
“We would like to target small scale farmers. We look at those with irrigation schemes. We supported at least 40 such in the last season,” said Malaba.
“We are supporting agriculture trading, small miners and those industries basically in the informal sector and we are looking at about $17 million to $18 million for these programmes.”
Malaba said supported farmers were in tobacco, maize and sugarcane farming.